Social Media for Managers

by Theresa Truscott

Organisation case studies

It can be helpful to understand how other organisations are engaging with the social media world, so here are some case studies.

As a manager you may need to understand what the marketing department is trying to achieve. These case studies will help.

Case study 1

SAGE Publishing is a global publisher of academic and professional books and journals.

How they use social media

SAGE uses social media to meet a variety of objectives. At a corporate level, Twitter is used to disseminate news-worthy content and engage with journalists, while a blog, ‘SAGE Insight’, highlights content around policy. There is also a blog, ‘SAGE Connection’, that discusses publishing news and is aimed at SAGE authors, editors and societies.

SAGE also feeds inspection copy reviews of their textbooks directly onto their corporate site. At a discipline level, SAGE are building on their current discipline portal, Methodspace, by investigating launching other portals around key content. These portals support key stakeholder groups, strengthen the brand in key disciplines and also encourage discussion and debate around SAGE content.

Policy

SAGE provides guidelines and best practice documentation to empower their authors, editors and societies to use social media with confidence.

Success criteria

Different criteria and metrics are used, depending on the channel. For Twitter channels, the number of retweets and mentions is monitored, while blogs are measured by the number of followers and comments. While the metrics are reviewed quarterly, SAGE continually interrogates their benchmarks to understand which channels provide the greatest return on investment.

Words of wisdom

  • Negative comments allow you to correct mistakes or improve on things. Without hearing the negative, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to improve.
  • Try something to see if it works and move on quickly if it doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Social media is not an objective its own right – it is one of many tools for enabling strategy.
  • A global company needs to be aligned. Try to co-ordinate a global strategy to ensure consistent strategy and branding and to prevent duplication of effort. An online presence is global rather than local.

Case study 2

Logica is a business and technology service company.

How they use social media

Logica has been using social media for approximately two years. Initially, social media was used locally, so the number of social media accounts grew to approximately 120. The company then developed a social media road map with the aim of developing client intimacy and good relationships. With these clear objectives, the focus went on streamlining activity to develop the key networks.

The framework for the strategy comes from the consulting activities of the company. Using this information, they were able to identify whom to target, what information is relevant them, which online networks they frequent and the kind of messages they want to receive. Anything newsworthy is promoted via social media, especially awards received or events promoted by Logica. This puts PR and customer engagement at the forefront of Logica’s social media objectives.

Policy

Best usage of social media within Logica is encouraged by providing simple guidelines and training. The manager responsible for social media within the organisation collaborated with the legal team and HR to ensure these guidelines reflect the ethical and legal use of social media.

The key strength of Logica’s strategy is that they find people who already have an interest in using social media and then encourage them to become advocates for the company. This means the management team feels confident that people will use their common sense and good judgment when it comes to deciding what to do or say online.

The company uses an open and honest approach and accepts that social media is an open forum where people will sometimes express negative opinions. On the rare occasion that this happens, the issue is addressed offline via direct contact with the person. As a result, the person often takes the time subsequently to comment on how this was handled to their satisfaction.

Success criteria

Logica measures the success of a social media campaign by using metrics such as

  • Traffic volume
  • Where contact comes from and where it goes to
  • Number of retweets
  • Number of comments
  • Mentions on forums and blogs.

Words of wisdom

  • Make sure you are clear about what you’re trying to do with social media and constantly review your reasons.
  • If you are just starting out then set up naming conventions.
  • Don’t go with fashionable names; they date quickly and it’s hard to change names.
  • Be brave when you receive negative comments; people often measure you on the way you handle these, so don’t give up.

Case study 3

Schroders is a global investment bank.

How they use social media

Schroders’ social media aim is to become a trusted source of information. The bank has been using social media internally for approximately 15 years in the form of wikis, instant messaging and blogs. This is seen as a key way for people within the organisation to develop a significant knowledge pool. It has also been instrumental in removing inter-departmental barriers and encouraging networking within the organisation.

The external use of social media is low-key. About fifty people within the organisation are mandated to write on behalf of the bank. These tend to be investment experts within the company, who provide good-quality information for blogs and articles.

Other people who provide content include the Chief Economist, the Chief Technology Officer, experts within the IT department and, naturally, people involved in marketing and PR.

The main purpose of using social media is to provide good PR opportunities, as the bank has a business focus rather than wanting to attract consumers directly. The company is keen to have the information picked up by journalists, fund managers and financial websites. With this in mind, the material is written in a way that makes it easy for the target audience to pick it up and wrap it within their own products. This is seen as a way of adding value to existing customers as well as attracting new ones.

Gerard Walsh, head of Social Media at Schroders, prefers to talk about ‘social business’ rather than ‘social networking’ (a term that implies playing). He maintains the view that short, snappy and timely information is most useful to the consumer. The information needs to be picked up within the first three minutes of delivery or it gets lost in the noise of everything else that goes out on the internet.

Policy

Schroders’ policy on social media use is to permit activity rather than restrict it, as it is of benefit to everyone. A good way to introduce a social media policy is to find out how it’s been done by other companies.

There are grey areas between public and personal profiles and sometimes people need a little guidance to get this right. The main thing is to ensure that no-one brings the bank into disrepute. This is particularly relevant as Schroders is a financial institution that has to comply with many regulations.

Success criteria

At Schroders, the success of a social media campaign is measured by the place where the information ends up. The aim is to be quoted on high-visibility sites and in highly-quality publications. They use Social Mention and Sentiment Metrics to measure how well they achieve this aim.

They believe that companies should not expect to measure ROI in the traditional way. This is, in any case, difficult to do unless you are able to directly correlate purchases to a specific social media activity (such as a money-off voucher linked to a specific campaign).

Words of wisdom

  • Use the experts you have sitting at every desk, they can provide valuable content.
  • You don’t have to ‘get it’ to empower other people to use it effectively.
  • Make small changes on a trial basis to find out what works.